Sunday, April 5, 2020 -
Print Edition

Firsts

The upcoming holiday of Shavuot marks an agricultural milestone. Shavuot was the time when first fruits were brought to the Temple. In today’s day and age when we eat strawberries or tomatoes in winter and oranges in summer, when almost all produce is available all year round, it is easy to forget about the seasons. But in Biblical times and even up until recently, we all ate seasonally. Citrus was a winter fruit. Berries were summer fruits. Not so today.

I still make an effort to try to eat seasonally as much as possible. Like the seasons themselves, which bring the joys of firsts — a star-y snowflake or perfect raindrop, a flower pushing itself up through fresh soil, a tweet of a bird or buzz of a bee —there is something to be said for the joy of a first taste of a new fruit or vegetable.

On Shavuot, one of the three Biblical pilgrimage festivals, the gathering of the first ripening fruits in gratitude for the spring harvest, the entering into Jerusalem in a colorful procession with overflowing woven baskets balanced on heads or carried in wide grasping arms, were accompanied by festive music. Throughout ancient Israel, people brought the bounty of late spring to the Temple in Jerusalem.

Although today we no longer bring baskets of bountiful fruit to Jerusalem for Shavuot, there is still a remote connection to bringing nature indoors. The custom is to gather flowers from the fields and to adorn our homes and synagogues with colorful blooms.

Although this custom harkens back to Mt. Sinai and the receipt of the Torah there, on a humble, blooming mountain, I also associate the flower gathering with the quality of Shavuot as a festival of harvest and an awakening of springtime.

The rest of this article is available in the IJN’s print edition only. Contact Carol to order your copy at (303) 861-2234 or email carol@ijn.com.



Tehilla R. Goldberg

IJN columnist | View from Central Park


Leave a Reply

WE’RE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER

Dear valued reader,

Let’s get right to it.

During these very difficult times that we’re all experiencing, why does the Intermountain Jewish News matter more than ever?

  • It connects us when we feel separated and surrounded by chaos. With the IJN, we are not alone. We are all in this together as a community.
  • It is our trusted, distinctive news source. With fake news, conspiracy theories and half truths rampant, the IJN works hard to provide facts, not sensationalism.
  • It brings you the impact of COVID-19 on the Colorado Jewish community, as well as the impact of the coronavirus on the global Jewish community.

Like other small businesses and media companies, the IJN is also being impacted in an unprecedented way by effects of the coronavirus.

That’s Why Your Help Is Needed Today.

Please click on the link below and subscribe today or purchase a gift subscription — an online gift is social distancing.

Appreciatively,

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg
Editor & Publisher

Shana R. Goldberg
Assistant Publisher